The 2012 WA State Trails Conference was held at the University of WA on the 25th of May. The talks were held at various locations on campus, making sure we got our 15 minutes of exercise for the day by walking between the various venues. With close to 200 delegates in attendance, it was by far the largest State Trails Conference yet.
International guest speaker Dafydd Davies was the star attraction for the day. He talked about sustainable trails, planning, frame work and using trails to connect people to nature. He used examples from his own experience of projects around the world to get his ideas and messages across. For the rest of the day people were heard quoting Dafydd’s sayings in their conversations with “sustainability” the word of the day. His presence at the conference and the work he is doing in the state at this time will leave an everlasting effect on the professionalism of trails for decades.
The breakout session after morning tea gave people the opportunity to listen to a speaker of their choice. The trails hub report was the highest attended session, with standing room only. An update of the trail hub planning was given as well as an explanation of what it is about and how it’s progressing. This is a ground breaking project for trail tourism in WA.
Lunch gave us the first chance for some networking and to catch up and discuss the day so far, or just to meet with friends in the business.
The afternoon session started with the Kalamunda Circuit mountain bike trail presentation by Jake Hannah and Murray Wynne to a packed room. They gave us a run down on the history of the trail and some foresight into future plans that will give Perth a complete quality trail system on its door step worthy of the 2 million people that live there. The horse riders were next, being represented by ATHRA, giving us a run down of their organisation and how they are advancing the network of horse trails. Rounding out the day was a question time with Dafydd again taking questions from the audience.
As always the sundowner ended the day with some informal networking which leads to some of the most important talks between the cream of the trail advocates in the state. It’s been noted that there has been a drop in numbers from the walking community over the years, which has been summarised by the fact they already have enough walking trails. This year’s state trails conference was overwhelming weighted by the mountain bike sector which shows the demand is here now and the way forward is strong and healthy with every sector of the government helping pave the way for sustainable trails.
WA mountain bike clubs and associations were represented by advocates from WAMBA, SWMTB Club, Cape Club, Collie MTB Club, Albany, Margaret River and the Munda Biddi Foundation.
The state trails conference was a success for mountain biking WA.